pH is the level of hydrogen ion concentration of the body fluids. pH is to denote if a specific fluid is either acidic or alkaline based on a 14-point scale with 7 as neutral. If the pH level is below 7 then the fluid is said to be acidic and above 7 is alkaline. The globular filtrate of the blood or the urine filtered by the kidneys has a hydrogen ion concentration of approximately 7.4. Depending on the acid-base balance of a person and their level of water intake the pH of the urine could be between 4.5 and 8.
The kidneys manage a normal acid-base balance by reabsorbing odium, hydrogen and the ammonium ions from the Henle’s loop and the convoluted tubes. Thus urine becomes acidic and to make it more alkaline the bicarbonates and the carbonic acid buffer is excreted along with the urine. Secretion of alkaline and acid by the kidneys is one of the most important mechanisms that the body uses to maintain a constant body pH.
In pregnancy, the pH of the blood is alkaline because of hyperventilation, vomiting and forced breathing. Alkaline urine can also occur in other body conditions such as pyloric stenosis, acidosis of the renal tubules, urinary tract obstruction, respiratory diseases, and chronic renal failure.
Alterations in pH during pregnancy:
During pregnancy the maximum urine pH level was found to be 7.53, this is because of the hyperventilation in the antepartum period along with the decrease in bicarbonate levels. During pregnancy, there is also a decrease in chlorides and an increase in blood bicarbonate levels. It is also observed that such alternations also returned to normal during the post-partum period after the delivery of the baby. Pregnancy is associated with hyperventilation or gasping for breath as the growing uterus pushes the diaphragm above and obstructs the lungs.
Hyperventilation lowers the blood carbon dioxide levels as a compensatory phenomenon and brings about a slight alternation in the blood pH levels. The blood tends to become acidic and it is demanded that for compensation, a convenient amount of the base should be excreted in the urine. This is the reason behind the alkaline urine during pregnancy. The pH level of urine during pregnancy is thus a little more alkaline than normal. Convincing evidence has been produced to commemorate the statement that the urine is more alkaline during pregnancy and for some days post-delivery.
The pH level of urine and sex of the baby:
Some mothers have been using pH levels during pregnancy to determine the sex of their foetus. It is now possible to test the pH of urine with the help of strips available with the local chemist. Some pregnant women consider that if the urine is below 7 and if it is acidic, then the foetus is probably a girl and alternatively of the pH is above 7 then the women is pregnant with a boy. This is conveniently a myth and the pH strip test is not consistent on its own. Only an ultra-sonogram can predict and confirm the sex of the baby perfectly.
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